Isaac M. Ward was born in Scott County, Kentucky in 1834. He attended local schools and worked as a bootmaker prior to his enlistment in the army. Isaac was enlisted into Company A, 1st US Cavalry by Lieutenant Riddick in Decatur, Ohio on January 26, 1857. His enlistment documents describe him as 5’6” tall, with light hair, hazel eyes, and a fair complexion.
Ward served for the next four years on the frontier in Company A, receiving promotions to corporal and sergeant. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he accompanied his regiment as it moved to Washington, DC. After Company A reached Washington, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the 6th US Cavalry on October 23, 1861. The 6th US Cavalry’s acting commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Emory had commanded the 1st Cavalry at the outbreak of the war, and may have had something to do with the appointment.
Lieutenant Ward joined his new regiment that same month, and was assigned to Company A. The following month he was assigned to Company F, where he served through the peninsula campaign. He trained with the regiment throughout the winter of 1861, and accompanied them to the peninsula for their first campaign the following March.
In August 1862, Lieutenant Ward was assigned as an aide de camp to General Pleasonton, on whose staff he served until the following April. Ward was promoted to first lieutenant on October 20, 1862. He returned to his regiment in April 1863, just in time to command Company A during Stoneman’s raid.
Lieutenant Ward was killed at the head of his squadron of Companies A and M near Beverly Ford during the battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863. The squadron was charging in support of a flanked line of the regiment’s skirmishers. He was shot through the chest while attempting to capture a Confederate battle flag in close fighting. He is buried at Culpeper National Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia.
Carter, From Yorktown to Santiago, pages 86
Crouch, Richard E. Brandy Station, page 241
Enlistment documents, Isaac M. Ward
Heitman, page 1001
Henry, Volume II, page 215